Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer Cacti!

One of my best friends is the Cactus Whisperer. Her name is Diana, and I absolutely adore her. We've been friends since high school and are now majoring in the same major. She and I love cacti--they're so cute! I love how they are often quite tiny and fragile, so they have such delicate yet harmful spikes to protect themselves (I could make a comment about the symbolism of being vulnerable yet slightly prickly...but I'm not. Well, I just did. So sue me.).

Diana has this perfectly round cactus that stays a rich grass-green, and flowers every year. A delicate ring of bright magenta flowers settle on the crown. I myself have a small cactus that is supposed to have one large pink flower on the top. I've had it since I was five, and it has flowered exactly once. I swear, Diana is magic. Her cactus loves her more than mine loves me.

I have other stories about our love for cacti: Going to a flower shop on Valentine's day to check out their prickly succulents and completely ignoring all the roses, check; another time, popping in to see if a flower shop in Chinatown has any cacti and leaving with promises to call the owner for flowers for our weddings when we get married, check. These things just happen, right?

But onto the art. This is an art blog, after all (you wouldn't know with all the jabbering I do on it, though). I broke out the watercolors earlier this summer on a particularly warm day. The paints kept drying out within minutes! I experimented with a few different cacti styles, and then decided to use two of my favorites to make a card design.

(Excuse the small size of the next few pictures. I stole them from my instagram)

This photo has a filter on it, so it's been washed out a bit. But you can see that I fiddled around with formatting and finally got it to fit neat and tidy on a card! The background is my study notes for the OAT I'm studying for at the moment (it's killer, but I keep reminding myself, at least you're not studying for the MCAT! Haha).

And finally, here is the computerized, fixed up version with the real colors and details. I think it's just so adorable!

July 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My family's new pet...tree

When my dad was in Boy Scouts, he planted a Sequoia Gigantia tree in his parents' backyard. Now, over 40 years later, it's a gigantic tree that towers over the backyard, lending lots of shade. Now, he wants to plant another one in our backyard. So over Spring break while we were California, we bought a Sequoia sapling at a gift shop (what? I know...) and brought it back. It currently resides in its own pot on our back porch.

I keep joking that this is our family's new beloved tree because they said a dog was too difficult to take care of. ;) So far, Sequoia hasn't wilted yet, and has had lots of new growth. Her new tips emerge as a lighter green and then later obtain their rich dark green we're used to.

I decided to whip out my watercolors and paint her portrait to remember her baby-years.

I painted straight into my sketchbook, and was surprised the paper held up so well. I have been trying to hold back on the water to avoid the paper-curling phenomenon I've been battling.

And here's the scanned in version:

July 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Love on a Rooftop

Have you heard about the guy who live-tweeted his neighbor's breakup? I'm stuck between feeling that he crossed the boundary of tact (a bit inappropriate to share it all online--between friends, sure, I gossip with my friends. But on Twitter? I think that's a bit far.) and a bit amused that they almost caught him but didn't (now I'll always be suspicious of people on roofs next to me....).

But a gem of a quote came out of the whole ordeal: "I'm not talking about love on a rooftop in Brooklyn" is the perfect meta, and a line that sounds like it was straight from a romantic movie. *Swoon*, that's the romantic in me. Of course for my life, "I'm not talking about love over the phone from my bedroom floor" just doesn't have the same ring to it, eh?

Anyways, I've had this quote pinned to my Quotes board on Pinterest for awhile, and was inspired after watching a few Typography how-to and my process videos on YouTube. I am so thankful for all the artists out there who make time-lapse videos, tutorials, hints, etc. for beginners and other noobs like me. If you're interested in looking at some amazing typography videos, you should check out madebymarzipan. Her videos are concise and incredibly helpful. I especially used her tips from her accents video about adding arrows, banners, lines, and other illustrations to help the words come alive. As far as the lettering itself, I'm still having a little difficulty trying to deviate from my normal handwriting and reaching out into different type-fonts. It's much harder than I was anticipating! 

July 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Horse in the style of Traditional brush painting

I'm experimenting with new art styles and subjects this summer. I was recently looking up pictures of the Chinese character for horse, ma, and stumbled across some beautifully done paintings of horses in the traditional Chinese brush style. Brush paintings are supposed to capitalize on the negative space, showing just enough lines to recognize the subject. I like the lightness this style lends--the feeling of movement like you can't quite capture the subject because it's too busy being full of life.

I didn't have my watercolors with me so I tried to duplicate the style with pen instead. I I found it interesting, experimenting with the thickness and lightness of the lines. You can tell where I started, fully filling in the black, and then when I learned to ease up and open the coloring to allow the paper to show through.

July 2015
Inspired by this

Monday, August 3, 2015

Darth Vader and the Death Star

My friend (the same one who recently adopted the a new dog, Dash) just turned 30! We keep teasing him that he's finally an adult now, haha. But it's really kind of true. Your twenties are spent making mistakes and learning to live on your own. You're trying to find out who you are and who you want to be. And sure, we spend the rest of our lives doing all of those over again. But hopefully we're slowly learning how to become better, more successful people.

I absolutely adore this guy, and I know he loves Star Wars (he and his girlfriend have a room dedicated to Star Wars. It--and they--are adorable). So for his birthday card, I made this super cute kid-Darth Vader holding a Death Star balloon. It was inspired by an illustration I found on Pinterest and a few cartoon sketches of kids.

I really like how it turned out, and I think this is one of the first times I've used different textures and media in the same drawing. (And I can't get enough of my new pen, haha).

July 2015